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Showing posts from September, 2010

Cultural Adoption Quiz

As an introduction to our current chapter, students took a brief online quiz that sought to identify how strongly they have adopted the values of their parents. These quizzes are available at and take about five minutes to complete.

I think the idea that it was Harvard and that they were participating in an actual psychological study was exciting to them. Several found that they were not as radical as they had hoped but we did have some variety of results within the class.

Chat With Me

Today I tried a new approach. Using rather than the projector in the room, I had the class view my screen. Some were a little freaked out that stuff was happening on their screen without doing anything themselves. But most of the girls immediately discovered the chat feature.
Now they could only chat with each other in the room, and I could see all their chatting, but that was not the point of the screen share. I really wanted them to see what I was talking about.
So first impressions: great tool that I could use often. I just wish I could turn off the chat feature. FYI, after I discontinued the session, the girls were still able to chat with each other until they closed their window.

Tired of PowerPoint

My Sociology class has a love affair with PowerPoint. Granted, we do a LOT of posters, fliers, brochures and pamphlets. A couple former yearbook students are comfortable with Publisher but I certainly don't require everyone to use it.
All I'm really interested in is the content, not the packaging, but after three weeks I'm already weary of seeing the same style presentations. I'm really glad I found MAKE BELIEFS COMIX! Online Educational Comic Generator for Kids of All Ages It's free, online and easy to use. The best part is that it gives me a new method for them to illustrate concepts learned!
Disclaimer: I found this site through a simple web search and in no way was paid or encouraged to endorse them :D

Tired of Staring at this Screen

Literally just spent 12 hours at the computer on Saturday creating lesson plans, assignments and overview sheets for next week. I'm exhausted. Can't imagine what will happen when I don't have a "free" weekend to craft all the documentation needed this year. Of course teaching six completely different courses only compounds the work.

Which Came First: The Quiz or the Egg?

The text book suggested having the students create quizzes over the chapter and give them to each other as a way to review. I sent the class over to QuizEgg and after about fifteen minutes we had some very creative quizzes.

Not only did it help reinforce the material, but they worked through a web form and had to think about how their "consumers" would need to interact with their content.

Nothing quite like immediate user feedback as we began taking each other's quizzes.

Prepared for What?

Are students taking multiple AP courses for the right reasons? This peculiar opinion piece from the New York Times seems to think not, but lays the blame on education, both collegiate and high school. Perhaps as parents, we are teaching our children wrong values. 
This year our school is offering their first AP course and all the other courses have been asked to push the academics to higher levels. I have also heard parents (both directly and echoed by their children) proclaim that to just get into college, students need a GPA above 3.8 and AP courses.

However, the most striking thing I am shocked by this year is the number of kids dropping my elective courses in the first two weeks. The number one reason given is the need for a study hall. Web Design and Programming enrollment has dropped in half. Yearbook is down from thirteen students last year to four. It truly feels like students are pursuing college admissions competitions rather than learning life skills.

I know it is not a new…